UD (also know as Youde), are a Chinese manufacturer that have made some great products in the past, such as the Bellus and Goblin Mini, both of which gained high praise from vapers around the world. They are also know for manufacturing vaping accessories and wire for the DIY vapers.
What Can We Expect From The UD Balrog?
The Balrog is UD’s first step into the vape mod market and a mod they are marketing to “Fit All Expectations”. With temp control capability they have certainly covered the bases and all looks good but does the Balrog offer something improved from the multitude of vape mods on the market?
Lets have a look with our hands on review.
Further Reading: Temp Control Guide For Beginners
In The Box
The UD Balrog box in nicely presented and everything laid out nicely in the foam inlay. Inside you will find:
- 1 X Balrog TC Mod
- 1 X Balrog 3ml Tank with 0.5 ohm Kanthal coil pre-installed (Recommended Wattage range 20-38W)
- 1 X Kanthal 1.8 ohm coil (Recommended Wattage range 15-22W)
- 1 X Ni200 0.15 coil (TC Range 200-450ºF / 95ºC – 230ºC)
- 1 X Spare pyrex glass tank
- 1 X Lanyard
- 1 X USB cable
- 1 X Accessory pack (includes spare O rings / Spare absorbing cotton / Spare drip tip
- 1 X instruction manual
- 78mm in height
- Powered by replaceable 18650 battery (Not included in kit)
- 5-70W Power output
- Kanthal Coil resistance: 0.2-3.0 ohm
- TC Coil Resistance: 0.15-3.0ohm
- Temp Control range: 200ºF – 600ºF (95ºC – 315ºC)
- Supports Kanthal – Ni200 – Titanium coils
- Overheating / Voltage / Battery Reverse / Output Short Circuit / Protection
- Condensation collector ring
Build Quality and Design
The UD Balrog is a tiny box mod. OK, not on the level of the Council of Vapor Mini Volt but still small enough to sit snugly in the palm of the hand and has more in the way of features and functions.
One of the first things I noticed with the mod – and something I’ve never seen before – was a ring attached to the top of the device. This contains (or sits around) 510 threading and features cotton that acts as an absorbing material for any stray e-liquid. I guess in principle the idea is a good one to catch any slight leaks from the tank.
I had an immediate problem which you could probably put down to user error. I couldn’t get the ring off the mod. The instructions hint that it comes off by way off an image and there is spare absorbing cotton in the kit so it is supposed to come off.
I only tried by hand though, maybe getting some kind of tool to help will do the trick?
If you can’t get it off and the cotton does do it’s job in soaking up any excess e juice / condensation then I can imagine this won’t look to pretty in a short space of time.
Sitting alongside on the top of the mod is a small hole which is where you would connect you lanyard if you like hanging your mod around your neck. A little wasted on me but the option is there and works as it should.
I do really like the purlicue ergonomic button that UD have opted for here. What’s a purlicue button I hear you ask?!
Good question…. I looked this up and this is what I could find:
“Distance between the thumb and forefinger”
“A flourish in writing; also, any trifle or oddity”
Clearer? Great stuff… If you can explain further to me in the comments below it would be appreciated 🙂
Whatever UD have decided to call it, the button has a nice and satisfying click to it and is as sold a power button you are likely to see. If you have the button facing the palm it activates with a simple squeeze making it a pleasure to use.
The OLED display screen is below the power button on the side of the mod and set below the screen are the two metal function buttons and micro USB port.
The OLED screen is small, although I have just been using the Innokin Cortex for a couple of weeks (Large OLED Screen), but it is bright and clear.
Lastly is the magnetic battery cover. It snaps into place firmly and the four batteries assure this cover isn’t going to come off by accident any time soon.
The mod casing is made up of a metallic material, possibly stainless steel or zinc alloy. I can’t honestly tell you what but what I can say is that it created a nicely weighted mod that doesn’t feel flimsy in any way.
All the buttons feel solid and there is zero rattle.
Overall the Balrog temp control mod has superb build quality. Feels like it could take a bit of heavy use in it’s stride.
How Does The UD Balrog TC Mod Perform?
As would be expected from a temp control mod such as the Balrog there are a number of features and functions to familiarize yourself with.
- On/Off: Click button 5 times in quick succession
- System Menu: Click power button quickly 3 times. Menu will appear, press function buttons to scroll through the settings and power button to make your selection. The following options will be available:
- TC Mode -> Ni200 & Ti -> Once selected you will then be given the option of ºC or ºF.
- Power (Wattage) Mode
- System -> Sub menu options allow you to set the screen display – Sensitivity (Adjust Temperature sensitivity) – puff count
- Pressing power button and bottom function button locks device
- When switching Coil to TC mode: Press +/- at the same time to allow coils to be recognized. Coils must be room temperature.
The function buttons on the mod I received did not have ‘+’ / ‘-‘ labelled on the buttons, maybe this is a sample I received for review. Not a huge deal but something to keep in mind as the instructions refer to these for functionality.
Balrog 3ml Tank
The Balrog tank has a 3ml capacity, maybe not enough for some vapers but the tank itself has a very small form factor and a nice clean looking deign.
The top filling design is unique in that the refill holes are located to the side once you remove the top piece. There wasn’t any benefit from the holes being located on the side, at least not for me.
It was still simple to fill but I had to mop up a small amount of e liquid spillage that had found it’s way down the sill on the inside of the tank.
The drip tip that is installed on the tank has a narrow bore hole that is suited to vapers that prefer a tighter draw making it possible to mouth to lung vape.
There is also a wider bore drip tip included for those of you that prefer a bigger direct lung hit.
Kanthal Coil Performance – 0.5ohm coil
The 0.5ohm Kanthal coils are recommended to work within th 20-38W boundaries. I filled with vape juice, waited 5 minutes and set the Balrog to Power Mode at 24W. The flavor was just OK and came across a touch muted yet still a decent amount of vapor being produced.
I ramped things up gradually going to 28W – 34W – 38W and a few in between. The warmth of the vape increased as would be expected but the flavor was still average for me.
Ni200 0.15oHM Coil
Working with the Ni200 coil in temp control I hoped for better flavor coming through but it just wasn’t happening. I even left it a day and ensured it wasn’t a case of vapers tongue but the flavor still wasn’t great for me unfortunately.
Not sure what happened with the above coils not performing and it was pretty disappointing considering UD’s track record in tanks.
I had been vaping the Aspire Cleito and Innokin iSub S in the days following up-to this review and I even tested the same juice in all three tanks. They results compared to the Balrog tank were night and day when it came to the flavor produced.
At the moment the temp control is compatible with Nickel and Titanium. Can’t be used with Stainless Steel as things stand.
What I like
The actual Balrog mod is excellent in terms of build quality and the small form factor. It sits comfortably in the hand and is a very portable device with plenty of power. The new purlicue button, when it faces the palm, makes it a pleasure to use and vape with.
Just a slight squeeze of the mod will activate the power button.
The replaceable 18650 battery is a plus for many vapers as well.
The Balrog also looks like the firmware is upgrade-able which is a definite plus.
What I Dislike
The Balrog tank. I just didn’t get on well with it or more specifically get on with the coils. In terms of the build quality and size the tank itself it’s actually good.
Maybe I got a couple of bum coils? It’s possible, I just found compared to what I have been using recently that the flavor was disappointing.
The temp control menu system. After using the Cortex TC mod from Innokin for 2 weeks prior to this review I found the Balrog just seemed overly complicated. I guess this is down to the new board that Innokin are using but for those new to temp control the Balrog isn’t exactly a pick up and play type of e cig mod.
That brings me onto the instructions included. They aren’t really set out that well for new users in mind, don’t really give anything but bare bones information and there are silly mistakes such as saying the Balrog is 70W on one page and 60W on the next.
I know it may be a small thing but there’s no excuse for it nowadays considering the USA is likely the biggest market they are going for.
There is also zero safety guidance for best use of a mod with a replaceable battery.
Supplied USB cable doesn’t charge the battery on my mod. I assume this is for firmware updates only. The instructions don’t give any information.
Final UD Balrog Review Verdict
The Balrog TC mod from UD is definitely a game of two halves for me. The mod itself I really liked for various reasons, I think this is a great little device. But the flavor produced from the Balrog tank not so much, I found it average.
If you are reading this and looking for a small, well built mod for use with Kanthal coils in wattage mode then it’s a great option and I will continue using this but with a different sub ohm tank.
- Superb build quality
- Mod is well designed and fits well in the hand
- Purlicue button is well designed for an improved user experience
- Replaceable 18650 battery
- Firmware can be upgraded in the future on the device
- Flavor from the Balrog tank and coils was just OK
- Instruction manual needs improving and making clearer, along with improved safety guidance.
- TC does not support Stainless Steel